Business pushes for more action for a low-carbon economy at UN climate summit

With the backdrop of the private sector day at the COP21 in Paris, UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres commended the business community for taking decisive steps to combat climate change.

“The interests of governments, the private sector and cities are aligning as never before,” Figueres said during the BINGO (Business and Industry NGOs) day at the climate negotiations in Paris.

“In doing so we are witnessing the turning point in the way the global economy prices pollution and invests in real wealth— keys to unlock our collective ambition of an ambitious Paris Agreement in 2015 and catalysts towards keeping a global temperature rise under 2 degrees this century,” she said.

The UN climate chief’s sentiment was shared by COP21 president and French minister of foreign affairs Laurent Fabius, who said that companies have “proved that they are ready to support the transition to a low-carbon economy. That’s a positive signal that they are sending to governments in order to encourage them to set ambitious targets.”

Bertrand van Ee, Climate-KIC CEO
Bertrand van Ee,
Climate-KIC CEO

Climate-KIC CEO Bertrand van Ee commented: “A single silver bullet will not be sufficient to bring about the systemic change required. Climate action within business must be powered by both radical innovation and by people with the skills and capabilities to trigger this innovation. Business can collaborate to achieve more in responding to this global challenge.”

Last week, also in Paris, Figueres’ brother — José María Figueres, the former Costa Rican president and now chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room — helped Climate-KIC launch a new study about business attitudes to climate change.

A transformational shift 

The thematic BINGO day, coordinated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) together with partner organisations and endorsed by IETA, WBCSD and We Mean Business Coalition, saw key decision-makers from the corporate world gather to share expertise in technology cooperation and development, climate finance and research and development.

The BINGO Day echoed calls for governments to send a clear signal to the private sector about the future direction of global climate policy through a long-term agreement that protects competitiveness, accelerates investment and unleashes the deployment of existing and new technologies and finance in the near and long term.

Renat Heuberger, CEO of Climate-KIC partner South Pole Group

Renat Heuberger, CEO of Climate-KIC partner South Pole Group, stated: “Private enterprise really plays a pivotal role in furthering the global climate agenda. It is great to see that the business community is getting some much deserved attention here at COP21.”

“The growing momentum from the corporate world on climate action shows us that companies have reached a tipping point. They need ambitious policy to achieve their full potential and accelerate action from industry at scale,” added Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of CDP.

Going forward, private sector innovation, investment and expertise will be vital in successfully combating climate change and promoting inclusive, sustainable growth. Nonetheless as emphasised by the BINGO day attendees and organisers, addressing climate change is equally an imperative and opportunity for the entire business community in all countries – and across every business sector.

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